Cock­bain still ea­ger to help out at Formby

Midweek Visiter - - Motors - BY PAUL ED­WARDS

IAN COCK­BAIN’S four-year ad­ven­ture at Formby ended last month when the veteran skip­per fi­nally re­tired from cricket nearly a decade af­ter step­ping down from the same role at Fir­wood Boo­tle CC.

But the cap­tain who won tro­phies by the truck­load at Wad­ham Road and then led Formby to their high­est-ever po­si­tion in the Liver­pool Gin Liver­pool & Dis­trict Cricket Com­pe­ti­tion will still be in­volved at Cricket Path next sea­son when he will help the new skip­per when­ever he can. More­over, he looks back on his four In­dian sum­mers at Formby with the great­est plea­sure.

“It was a joint ef­fort be­tween Char­lie Mills and my­self with Char­lie as pres­i­dent and my­self as cap­tain,” he said.

“When we took over we were head­ing for the third tier of lo­cal cricket, although we got an im­me­di­ate re­prieve that win­ter when we weren’t rel­e­gated.

“We won the First Di­vi­sion the next sea­son, ce­mented our place the fol­low­ing sum­mer and then last year fin­ished as run­ners-up in the Pre­mier League, which was the club’s high­est plac­ing in its 151-year his­tory.

“We also won the Ray Dig­man Tro­phy, which was the first tro­phy the club had ever won.”

But the sea­son just ended saw Formby in­volved in a rel­e­ga­tion fight with Ains­dale and South­port & Birk­dale and Cock­bain’s team only se­cured its place among the élite with an eight-wicket vic­tory over Rain­hill on the fi­nal Sat­ur­day of the league pro­gramme.

“This year we’ve had a very youth­ful side out and we’ve been un­der-strength on oc­ca­sions,” he said.

“That’s not been ideal but next year we’ll have a younger cap­tain and we’ll bring some young re­cruits in.

“I think I know who the next skip­per is go­ing to be but he has to be voted in by the play­ers so it wouldn’t be fair to dis­close his name at the mo­ment.

“I won’t be in­volved on match days next sum­mer but I’ll be there in the back­ground. I’ll go to se­lec­tion for the new skip­per and help him out with re­cruit­ment and fundrais­ing.

“We don’t have a great deal of money at Formby but we did get spon­sor­ship for some of the Lan­cashire play­ers we got in to help us this sea­son while the younger play­ers were learn­ing the ropes.”

As for his own re­tire­ment, Cock­bain recog­nises that it is the right time to step down al­beit that he is tak­ing some won­der­ful mem­o­ries with him.

He said: “If you’re go­ing to run a cricket team you have to throw your hat in the ring and do it full time. I wasn’t do­ing it jus­tice and it’s now time to move on.

“I’m busy at work, I’ve got fam­ily to look af­ter and I wasn’t giv­ing it my best shot. I couldn’t get to train­ing, I couldn’t play some of the cup games, I had a cou­ple of busi­ness trips and I was away on hol­i­day a cou­ple of times.

“I’m 60 next birth­day but it’s been great and I’ve re­ally en­joyed it. I sup­pose it’s just a case of grow­ing up – even­tu­ally!”

Diane Tins­ley

Veteran star Ian Cock­bain has re­tired from play­ing cricket but still hopes to help out at Formby Cricket club next year.

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